Best Car Accessories: 19 Gadgets Your Ride Really Needs

Vehicles are expressions of their owners' interests and priorities. Outfit your auto with the best car accessories for convenience, style, and fun.

Breathe New Life and Excitement Into Your Car

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Breathe New Life and Excitement Into Your Car

Your car doesn’t have to be boring. While its main purpose is to get you from A to B, adding some cool new accessories can make every car trip more fun. From convenient car gadgets to tech-inspired interfaces, the following are some of the best car accessories for a range of interests. 

There also is something on this list for every kind of vehicle, including family cars, mobile homes, hot rods, off-roaders, and everything in between. And, since you are customizing your vehicle to fit your needs and style, it’s an opportunity to be creative and have fun.

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Radar Detector with GPS

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Radar Detector with GPS

Any "worth it" radar detector soon pays for itself by enabling you to avoid speeding tickets that can cause higher insurance premiums. There's also the added, unquantifiable benefit of being able to drive with confidence, free of paranoia. 

If you've owned a radar detector in the past, you know that false signals can ruin its effectiveness, making the device merely a nuisance. Enter the Escort Max 3, a Bluetooth-enabled modern detector specially designed to hone in on police radar, while blocking signals from the radar employed by the cruise control of other cars, the automatic sliding doors of nearby buildings, or other things on the road that might confuse a lesser device. Join Escort’s app community to get live traffic updates, and alerts for red light cameras and speed limit changes. Available at Amazon .

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A Reliable Flashlight

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A Reliable Flashlight

Getting stranded on the side of the road at night can be nerve-wracking, but keeping a reliable flashlight in your emergency kit can help keep you safe. The Nite Ize T7RA-01-R7 Inova features a 713-lumen maximum rating, casting light up to 708 feet. It comes with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and a charger that operates with a standard USB port. It features a high beam, a low beam, and a strobe light for attracting attention while on the side of the road. Available at Amazon .

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10 Safety Essentials Your Home is Missing

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Multi-Pocket Seat Back Organizer

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Multi-Pocket Seat Back Organizer

Everything you need for a road trip or just for a typical day shuttling the kids can be packed in this convenient seat-back organizer. You won’t have to dig in seat pockets for tissues or reach around for that fallen water bottle rolling on the floor. This storage bag, which straps to either the driver’s or passenger’s headrest, has multiple compartments, including drink holders, tissue holders, and pockets for snacks and tech gear. Perhaps its best feature is the clear pocket that holds smart tablets (yes, you can operate the tablet while it’s in the pocket). Available at Amazon .

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Emergency Road Assistance Kit

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Emergency Road Assistance Kit

Your battery dying or any other issue that might land you on the side of the road is bad enough—don’t be stranded there without the right gear. The AAA 42-Piece Emergency Road Assistance Kit covers many of the basics you might need in case of an auto emergency. Items include obvious car staples, like booster cables and a flashlight with batteries, and other handy necessities, such as electrical tape and a safety vest. The handy bag that holds the tools is compact, and easily stowed in the trunk. Available on Amazon .

Related: 10 Essentials for Any Survival Kit

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Bluetooth Car Kit

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Bluetooth Car Kit

Driving down the highway at 65 mph requires complete focus. Eliminate some common driving distractions—and make your car ride safer and more convenient—with the BESIGN BK01 Bluetooth Car Kit. This product pairs wirelessly with most smartphones so you can play music and engage in hands free calling, and it’s capable of connecting with two devices at once. You’ll even get the benefit of noise isolation and dual USB ports for charging other devices. Available on Amazon .

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Car Vacuum

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Car Vacuum

Cars attract their fair share of mud, dust, pet hair, leaves, and other things that contribute to an unclean interior. Despite the dirt, many people wait far too long to clean their vehicle, partly due to the difficulty of maneuvering a full-size vacuum's attachment in a car's cramped interior. Thankfully, the BLACK+DECKER Handheld Vacuum eases the burden. An extendable crevice attachment and a rotating nozzle help you reach the tiniest nooks and crannies of your car, while the cord-free design allows you to charge and go. Available on Amazon .

Related: 12 Inventions That Do All Your Chores

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Portable Jump Starter

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Portable Jump Starter

No larger than a cell phone, this unassuming battery packs a whopping 12 volts and 300 amps into a device small enough to sit inside your glove compartment. Using the set's included cables which indicate when the car is ready to jump and feature a boost button for completely dead batteries, JunoJumper's V2 Edition can jumpstart most 4- or 6-cylinder cars. Once you're back on the road, recharge the battery by plugging it into a car charger or via the included micro-USB cord at home. Available on TheGrommet.com .

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Heated Seat Cushion

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Heated Seat Cushion

Drivers wishing they had sprung for heated seats when they first purchased their car can finally ditch those regrets, thanks to an affordable alternative to the expensive add-on. The Wagan IN9989 12V Infra-Heat Massage Magnetic Cushion keeps the driver or passenger comfortable and cozy for any drive, from an hour-long commute to a weekend road trip. (It has three massage modes and two heating elements, so you’ll probably want to take the long way home.) Reap the benefits of lower back massage from this seat cover year-round. Available on Amazon .

Related: 10 Life-Changing Buys to Help You Survive Winter Mornings

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Headrest Hanger

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Headrest Hanger

Every headrest in your car is a storage opportunity waiting to happen. Simply snap on a set of hooks and you'll transform a do-nothing space in the back seat into a space-saver. Hang handbags, shopping bags, and more from the convenient hook. Since each hook can hold up to 18 pounds, there's almost no end to this add-on's utility. Available on Amazon .

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Console Side Pocket

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Console Side Pocket

While many consoles give the driver a convenient spot to stash their daily carry—wallet, coins, gloves, and more—the luxury of space is not something you'll find in a compact or economy-sized car. That's where this console side pocket comes in, providing room to spread out while keeping your essentials at the ready. When it’s between the seat and the console, this organizer prevents important stuff from getting dropped and disappearing. Available on Amazon .


Related: 8 Organizers for the Little Stuff You Always Lose

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Trunk Organizer

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Trunk Organizer

When it comes to disorganized spaces, car trunks tend to be the worst. Instead of letting your trunk turn into a black hole that swallows everything, add a trunk organizer. These organizers are not only a great way to store a few everyday items, but also helpful for transporting groceries and other items without them spilling all over. Starling’s Car Trunk Organizer clips or straps in place, staying put during even the most spirited driving. Available on Amazon .

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Truck Bed Storage System

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Truck Bed Storage System

Pickup truck beds suffer the same fate as car trunks, so why not rev up your storage game with a handy drop-in storage system? The Decked Truck Bed Storage System boxes fit in a truck’s bed and offer long drawers for storing tools, sporting equipment, or even spare clothes on a camping trip. Its utility is endless. And, because it sits well below the bed rail, you can add a tonneau cover and still have plenty of storage on top of the box. Available on Amazon .

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Tire Inflator

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Tire Inflator

If you’re the prepared type, you may enjoy the convenience of a compact tire inflator that can stay in the vehicle. Traveling with the Kensun Portable Air Compressor tire inflator will allow drivers to stay up to spec with their tire pressure caused by the expansion and contraction of fluctuating temperatures. This tire inflator can use electricity from a house or a vehicle’s cigarette lighter to handle slow leaks that would otherwise strand a vehicle on the side of the road. Available on Amazon .

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Phone Holder

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Phone Holder

It’s not safe to hold a smartphone while driving—let a phone holder do the job for you. With the Vicseed Car Phone Holder Mount, you’ll still have the ability to access your music, a GPS app, and answer phone calls, all while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Best yet, this holder clips to heating and air vents, keeping the phone’s technology accessible and secure. Available on Amazon .

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Upgraded Floor Mats

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Upgraded Floor Mats

Whether the vehicle is the family’s primary mode of transportation or an off-road toy, upgrading the floor mats can be a lifesaver for cleaning. These Husky Liner Uni-Fit All-Weather Floor Mats do a better job of containing dirt, mud, water, snow, ice, and even spills inside your car, ensuring that the carpets underneath stay in tip-top shape. And, thanks to their rubber material, they’re easy to clean. Just remove and rinse them with a power washer. Available on Amazon .

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Portable Trash Can

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Portable Trash Can

A trash can might not be as exciting or eye-catching as a sporty exhaust or a new set of wheels, but having a waste receptacle in the vehicle can be a big help. Whether it’s for long road trips or drive-thru dinners with the kids, a portable trash can that can clip to the console, glove box, or seat back will keep things neat and tidy. Available on Amazon .

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Bluetooth Keychain Tracker

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Bluetooth Keychain Tracker

It’s hard to have a good time on the road if you can’t get out of the driveway. The Tile Mate 2-Pack Bluetooth Trackers helps locate a lost set of keys by receiving a signal sent via Bluetooth from a smartphone. The device will beep or chime, alerting the user to their hidden whereabouts. They’re even compatible with Smart Home devices, meaning you can find your keys or phone with your voice. Available on Amazon .

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Roof Rack Basket

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Roof Rack Basket

Even though today’s vehicles are larger and more capable than ever, storage is still at a premium. Take advantage of the roof rack on your vehicle with an Arksen 64” Universal Black Roof Rack basket. This heavy-duty basket can hold a ton of gear securely in place, including suitcases, rooftop bags, spare tires, extra fuel, and more. Available on Amazon .

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Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier

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Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier

Making the most of the space inside your vehicle could mean moving some items out back. The Maxxhaul 70S75 Aluminum Cargo Carrier slides into a vehicle’s existing hitch and offers a large platform for storing coolers, luggage, a portable grill, hunting and fishing gear, and sports equipment. It even features a fold-down ramp for rolling heavier items up onto the platform. And since it installs with just the slide of a hitch pin, you can take it off whenever you don't need the extra space. Available on Amazon .

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